We all have childhood memories of gifts we were given. Some gifts were coveted while others made us cringe. I love to hear stories of childhood gifts and who better to ask than my favourite bloggers?
I’m a sucker for picture books and when I discovered Megan Daley’s blog Children’s Books Daily, I was in book heaven. Megan has created a fabulous space full of book reviews, reading activities, tips for parents and interviews.
Megan knows her stuff. She is a teacher librarian, involved with The Children’s Book Council of Australia and last year won the ‘Queensland Teacher Librarian of the Year’ award. And because she can’t sit still, she’s also a judge for the Queensland Literary Awards, a sessional academic at Queensland University of Technology, writes for KidSpot and various literary and library journals, on the Queensland chapter of the Australian Children’s Laureate and a part of the Publications Committee for National Library of Australia Publishing. Like I said, she knows her stuff!
Megan’s love of books shines through in her writing and her many book recommendations have become firm favourites with my tornadoes. I can also relate to the parenting stories she shares involving her two adorable and feisty kids, PudStar and ChickPea/The Wild Thing.
I was excited when Megan agreed to share her favourite childhood gift memories. Of course I was expecting her favourite gift to be a book, but was surprised by this beautiful story…
What was your favourite gift you were given as a kid or teen?
Christmas 1988, I received a silver locket with my name and the year engraved on it. 1988 was a big year in Brisbane as the city hosted World Expo ’88, and every single week my family and I went to Expo (with our packed sandwiches – no way was mum buying us that ‘rubbish’ food inside Expo). I loved Expo – the cultural experience of it all, the crowds, the excitement and those weekly outings with my parents, and often, grandparents. So I was rather stoked with my silver locket at Christmas as it seemed a worthy reminder of the wonder of 1988.
I remember feeling awfully grown up, as the locket came in a ‘proper’ jewellery box and had been purchased at a ‘proper’ jewellery store at Indooroopilly Shopping Town as it was then known. I agonised over whose pictures should go inside that locket, eventually deciding that probably it should be my parents. Mum’s 1980’s blonde perm sat on one side and Dad’s bright red and bushy beard resided on the other side. A few years later I replaced them with words torn from books – a combination of teen angst about parents and my discovery of the world of classic literature.
Who gave it to you?
My beloved grandparents gave me this locket – we spent so much time with them when we were young and they were a strong presence in our lives. We are fortunate to still have my nan living close by and I know that some of the gifts she has given my own children will be treasured in the same way as this locket. I also still have ‘The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’ as a huge hardback edition, inside a slipcase with an equally huge book on May Gibbs. They gave this book set to me in the same year and I remember feeling like I must have been really grown up to receive jewellery and an enormous, impressive looking book. Clearly 1988 was the year for all good things.
How old were you?
Twelve. Too young for an 80s perm…
Do you still have it?
Funny story about that locket – it’s actually just made a re-appearance and I am again wearing it daily. The actual locket broke some years ago, and truly, much as I loved it, I wasn’t going to wear a 1988 locket and I figured my children weren’t going to either as it had my name on it. But, over the years, I have purchased a number of pieces of jewellery from online store Oh My Giddy Aunt – and my love of this store is not sponsored, I just really love their collections of ‘stuff’! I recently saw owner and Chief Giddy Aunt, Nikki, who was wearing a ring that I couldn’t take my eyes off and I just about yelped in excitement when she told me what it was; no longer needed silver jewellery, smelted (love that word!) into a fairly large nugget and set on a wide ring band.
She’s called them ‘Smelting Moments’. I loved it for its solidness, its craters of silver and its imperfections and I immediately went home and got out my silver locket – I knew I was keeping it for a reason! I added to my locket some old chains and a broken bracelet and had enough to smelt into a ring and a pendant. And even better? They cut out some of the elements of the original locket and embedded them into the final product. LOVE.
To be again wearing a locket from my childhood, but in a much more ‘me’ form is pretty darned special.
I don’t really have any decent photos of my ring on my hand (not a hand model!), but ChickPea and I were playing with her new unicorn garden and I snapped some photos of my ring and pendant after she asked me if they could be stones for her garden; “no bub, I know they are stone looking and shiny…but no…you may not bury them in your unicorn garden”.
Is it something your kids would play with now?
Apart from in the unicorn garden? No! Given I am now wearing my locket in its new form every day, I am not planning on handing it to my kidlets for some time yet! I’m quite sentimental about, and possessive of, my childhood possessions and books actually. I have this beautiful Raggedy Ann doll that my mother handmade for me when I was born and I won’t let my children touch her or the other doll my mother handmade me. Nor will I let them near my copy of my favourite childhood book, ‘Little Cloud’. All these items are high up and out of reach!
I was a terribly well behaved child (no really, I was!) and I’m not sure that I trust my two strong-willed, feisty, stomping, crashing and Sharpie Pen wielding children with my treasured childhood memories. Interestingly, they are not allowed to play with my husband’s matchbox car collection either…
Do you have a special keepsake or item of jewellery you plan to hand to your own kidlets?
What were you doing in 1988?